On dogs

If you get it, you get it

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

This month marks my dog’s fifth birthday. I’ve come to learn in the past five years that, when it comes to knowing and loving an animal, people either get it or they don’t. I count myself lucky to be among those who get it.

This wasn’t always the case. I wasn’t an animal-crazy kid. My family had a variety of cats and dogs in my youth, but those animals attached their loyalties to other people — mostly my sister, Leslie, who has always gotten it.

Mac is a great comfort during the ups and downs of newspaper work. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.

And it’s not like I gave those cats and dogs much reason to love me; we maintained professional relationships. The dogs barked to let me know there was someone in the driveway, and I paid them back with the milk and last few cereal bits in my breakfast bowl. The cats — they existed. I gave them a wide berth and they repaid me by not scratching my ankles.

This is how it went, until I met my husband, Alex.

Alex, who grew up on a farm, has also always gotten it. He got in trouble more than once as a young child for wandering too far from home to visit the neighbor’s cows. He had a dog that he still talks about like they were walking the barn road together yesterday. He had a cat who he still has a hard time talking about.

When he asked me, after less than a year of dating and about six months of living together, if I wanted to get a dog, I honestly wasn’t sure. He showed me a post online about a litter of accidental puppies near his childhood home, where we’d be visiting in the coming days. 

“We can just go look and you can see what you think,” he said. 

Meanwhile, he also insisted we stop at the bank for some cash — “just in case.”

We parked in a driveway leading to a yard populated with 8-week-old black-and-white puppies displaying the best kind of chaos. I stepped onto the lawn with an open mind and crouched down.

Out of the blur came one of the puppies, headed straight for me. She, at full speed, leapt into my lap, wiggling uncontrollably. Her huge brown eyes, masked in black, locked with mine.

It was like we’d met before — like she’d been looking for me, and finally found me.

I know that sounds crazy, but if you get it, you get it.

That puppy came home with us, and she became Mac: ball chaser, couch queen, peanut butter connoisseur, farmhouse protector and best friend. She is serious and silly, loving and independent. We speak our own language, just the two of us. She and Alex have their own special bond as well. Everyday, after work, he receives the homecoming of a lifetime.

As I write this, cross-legged on the couch, Mac snoozes to my right. I look at her, thinking about how much I love her, and I start to cry. She opens one eye, disturbed by my sniffles, and sees my tears. She then lifts her paw, rests it on my thigh and proceeds to drift back to sleep.

How could I possibly not get it?

While I didn’t adopt Mac from a shelter, I now understand the absolute magic of forming a bond with a pet and would encourage anyone with the means to consider adopting from the Better Together Animal Shelter. To see what animals are currently up for adoption, go to bettertogetheranimalalliance.org. If you’re not in the place to adopt but still want to support animals in need, consider donating. It is easy to set up a monthly donation. Join me by going to the shelter website and finding the “Donation” button.

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